Grand Ideas For West Ealing Woman
How technology is helping communities
How do people find each other locally? How would it be if the person we needed (whether gardener, taxi-driver, babysitter, dog-walker, new friend, employer or employee, even) was just round the corner but we didn't know they were?
How can technology help local people find each other?
Long-time Ealing resident, Gill Adams, has recently set up a new website aimed at Grandparents (http://begrand.net) and writes for us here about how new technology can be a very useful community tool.
I've lived in Ealing since 1981 and found mrself attending to the problem of getting to know the community, first as a young lone parent and homeworker. My first 'go' was setting up a local email group which turned eventually into Churchfield Community Association http://www.churchfield.org/ in Acton, which is now 10 years old. It started with about 10 people and is now a fully-fledged, constituted local residents' organisation with a thriving membership, that does wonders for the local community. It certainly doesn't stop at email now - it's all about real people meeting each other locally and being a force for good in the community - but that's how it started.
On moving to West Ealing in 2005 (a whole 15minute bus ride away from
Acton) I felt a bit lost after 24years in Acton. Plus there was the
issue of the tram which seemed destined to throw traffic right outside
her new front door. So, with a group of new neighbours, we formed
Five years on, West Ealing Neighbours is a hugely influential group
and website that concentrates on an often-overlooked, but densely
populated and vibrant area of Ealing, with some remarkable local
independent shops (we have two - yes two - fresh fish shops in West
What next? Well, I'm not a grandparent (yet) but having reached the
grandparenting age, I now play a part in a bigger national venture,
as the editor of a new website called BeGrand.net - which is all about
the nation's great army of millions of grandparents who are so crucial
In many ways, the grandparent generation (whether they
are actual grandparents or not) *are* the community-makers. They're
the ones with the time and the motivation - as the years advance so
the desire and need to stay in your community, and find your resources
There's also a great online 'community' of people that you can join to swap ideas and give support and just generally hang out and pass the time.
The message? Loads of local community groups and leisure groups
co-ordinate themselves using new technology - it's not rocket science
and it can be very low input in terms of energy. But you don't have to
set up a website, an email group, or even belong to a residents'
association, online or offline, in order to 'play your part' in
community. It's not always possible to be on the spot if you're busy
working. But with the wonder of modern technology, just taking 5
June 7, 2010